Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

Campaign Poetry: Bill Clinton learns how to deal with questions about his faith

October 11, 2010

As I traveled the state, I had to contend with the rise of a new political force, the Moral Majority, founded by the Reverend Jerry Falwell, a conservative Baptist minister from Virginia who had won a large television following and was using it to build a national organization committee to Christian fundamentalism and right-wing politics.

In any part of the state, I might find myself shaking hands with someone who would ask if I was a Christian. When I said yes, there would be several more questions, apparently supplied by Falwell’s organization. Once when I was campaigning in Conway, about thirty miles east of Little Rock, I was in the county clerk’s office, where absentee ballots are cast. One of the women who worked there started in on me with the questions. Apparently, I gave the wrong answer to one of them, and before I left the courthouse she had cost me four votes. I didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t about to answer a question about religion falsely, but I didn’t want to keep losing votes. I called Senator Bumpers, a good liberal Methodist, for advice. “Oh, I get that all the time,” he said. “But I never let them get past the first question. When they ask me if I’m Christian, I say, ‘I sure hope so, and I’ve always tried to be. But I really think that’s a question only God can judge.’ That usually shuts the up.” After Bumpers finished, I laughed and told him now I knew why he was a senator and I was just a candidate for attorney general. And for the rest of the campaign, I used his answer.

Bill  Clinton – My Life (p. 239-240).

Robert S. McNamara’s Eleven Life Lessons

October 7, 2010

In “The Fog of War” (2003), former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara talks about eleven life lessons:

  1. Emphasize with your enemy.
  2. Rationality will not save us.
  3. There’s something beyond one’s self.
  4. Maximize efficiency.
  5. Proportionality should be a guideline in war.
  6. Get the data.
  7. Belief and seeing are both often wrong.
  8. Be prepared to reexamine your reasoning.
  9. In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil.
  10. Never say never.
  11. You can’t change human nature.

If you haven’t seen the documentary yet, do so. It’s enlightening.

Tea Pot Dome

October 7, 2010

A political cartoon from 1924 about the Tea Pot Dome scandal. How does the cartoon describe the current political climate? Well, some Republicans are all up in it (tea), some are scared of it, while others are trying to stay as close as possible without suffering the fate of Icarus. Democrats, quite simply, are trying to spill the tea.

Some interesting Gallup numbers

October 4, 2010

Gallup reveals who likes/dislikes Obama:

A Pledge to America … to Limit Abortions

September 23, 2010

The GOP has released its 2010 election manifesto, entitled “A Pledge to America” — a new governing agenda built on the Priorities of Our Nation, the Principles We Stand for & America’s Founding Values. Buzzwords: Priorities. Principles. Values. House Minority Leader John Boehner defended the GOP’s pledge in an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, saying it’s “certainly more substantive than what was in the Contract with America 16 years ago.”  

The pledge includes the following passages regarding abortion:  

“We will permanently end taxpayer funding of abortion and codify the Hyde Amendment.”  

“We will establish a government-wide prohibition on taxpayer funding of abortion and subsidies for insurance coverage that includes abortion, this includes enacting into law what is known as the Hyde Amendment.”  

“We will also enact into law conscience protections for health care providers, including doctors, nurses, and hospitals.Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to using tax dollars to pay for abortion, and the executive order issued by President Obama in conjunction with congressional passage of the health care law is inadequate to ensure taxpayer funds are not used in this manner.”  

There you have it.

Newt Gingrich “knows better”

September 23, 2010

Mr. Gingrich seems to be the only man in politics who can say crazy things repeatedly without being written off as crazy, and ignored. The former Speaker of the House somehow earned a carte blanche in outrageous statements.

No matter what Newt Gingrich says, the following phrase is included in the ensuing discussion (Gingrich usually starts something):

“He knows better.”

President Clinton on Meet the Press (September 19):

That’s just what he does when he’s running. He’s out there playing politics, and it’s his shtick. He knows better. He’s a smart man.

A smart man playing politics. Gingrich certainly knows what to say (plus when and how) to push the right buttons — facts and common sense be damned. Gingrich’s skill is that he knows how to awaken dark and paranoid sentiments within certain segments of the electorate.

And that seems to be okay for politicians, since it’s all a part of the “game”.

While some are able to see the political calculations and motives driving Gingrich’s actions (me! coverage! GOP surge! – in that order), others aren’t. And those who take Gingrich at his word are strengthening his hand. The media should know when it’s being played, and leave Gingrich alone.

I finally get it now, Obama’s anti-colonial heritage is driving his support of the victory mosque. Thanks for clearing that up for me Mr. Gingrich.

Democratic Blues

September 13, 2010

Midterm history for first-term presidents. As Meet the Press-host David Gregory put it on Sunday:

“It’s mostly pretty bleak for a president in power.”

According to Nate Silver’s (Five Thirty Eight) latest House forecast (September 9), Democrats will loose more seats in November than the party in power did in 1978 and 1982 combined, but less than the Democrats did in 1994: 45,3 seats.

Republicans have a 2/3 chance of gaining a majority in the House come November.

Odds are Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) will be the new Speaker of the House. But it’s a long time between now and November, and 99 House seats are still in play.


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